A lone bull elk bugles amidst the sagebrush in Moffat County. The Colorado Division of Wildlife plans to host a public forum Tuesday at the American Legion Post 62, 1055 Moffat County Road 7, in Craig to discuss the agency's next five-year season structure for hunting big game animals, such as elk.

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A lone bull elk bugles amidst the sagebrush in Moffat County. The Colorado Division of Wildlife plans to host a public forum Tuesday at the American Legion Post 62, 1055 Moffat County Road 7, in Craig to discuss the agency's next five-year season structure for hunting big game animals, such as elk.

DOW to host public forum in Craig about hunting season

Agency seeks input on hunting season structure

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What: Division of Wildlife meeting to discuss five-year big game season structure

When: 6:30 to 8 p.m. Tuesday

Where: American Legion Post 62, 1055 Moffat County Road 7

The Colorado Division of Wildlife heard Moffat County's message and will be in Craig on Tuesday to hear public input on its next five-year big game hunting season structure.

Originally, the DOW planned to host six meetings in different Western Slope communities but did not plan one in Moffat County. The Moffat County Commission and Craig Chamber of Commerce requested the DOW rethink its plans, and officials responded last week by scheduling the meeting in Craig.

Agency officials ask residents attending the meeting to limit questions to the season structure, which is based on season dates and hunting methods.

For example, DOW spokesperson Randy Hampton said, there has been a muzzleloader season during the third week of archery season for several years. Sportsmen have commented that it doesn't make sense to have a firearm season when others are hunting with bows, and they asked the DOW to move muzzleloader season back.

"Those are the kinds of things that come up, and those are the kinds of things we want to hear," he said. "People constantly come up with good ideas and suggestions, and we try to implement those as best we can."

The Craig meeting will be the last one about season structures in Northwest Colorado.

Afterward, the DOW will prepare a draft to submit to the Wildlife Commission by its meetings May 7 and 8 in Grand Junction. The Commission plans to hear public comments on the draft at every meeting thereafter until approving a final at its September meeting in Colorado Springs.

The Commission also plans to host a workshop Aug. 10 and 11 in Silverthorne, which will be the closest meeting to Moffat County before a final plan is approved.

Although the DOW does not plan to discuss anything but season structures at tomorrow's meeting, the agency doesn't plan to ignore other issues important to local residents, Hampton added.

Officials plan to hold more public meetings with Moffat County residents soon on various subjects, such as big game herd populations and hunting license numbers.

The agency is working with the Chamber to mediate those forums, Hampton said. DOW officials want to be able to have a back and forth discussion with residents without guiding the process.

"We don't want to control the conversation," he said. "When we do that as an agency, it seems to be a more aggressive, more hostile environment."

The DOW plans to bring its biologists to a meeting in Moffat County so that residents can see first-hand how the agency's population models are created, Hampton added.

"We'll show everyone how we do things, right up front," he said.

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